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Two Weeks in Santa Barbara


sethwaterfall
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 had a break from work and was itching to get out of the rain in the PNW.  I've got family in Santa Barbara so I decided to truck my new T7 down and do some day trips out of there. I asked for some ride advice in the trip planning forum here and on advrider. I also posted this ride report there.

 

TLDR is that I had a great trip overall but I learned what the T7 is capable of and not capable of (with me driving) and got a good shakedown of my gear for longer trips.

 

The first step was to bolt on a new rear rack, side racks, slip-on exhaust, new tires, Outex tubeless rear, new tires and TPMS all in the 24 hours before I left. Then I rode around town for about 30 min and loaded the bike. Then I got up at 2am and drove from WA to SB straight though in 18 hours. What could possibly go wrong?

 

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After a day of chilling out with the folks I had several days to ride...

 

Day 1 I took a little ride up Gibraltar Rd to La Cumbre Peak in the morning and then back to town for tacos and gas. In the afternoon I went to the Upper Oso trail head to check out conditions and the status of the gate. The Los Pardres MVUM says there is a seasonal closure there but the website said the trailhead was open. I always figure it's better to just go check for yourself so that's what I did. I had a great afternoon and made it to Happy Hollow/Little Pine Mountain and back to SB just after dark.

 

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Day 2 I woke up to rain and man do they need it in ScCal. I dragged my feet in town and then decided to ride up Old San Marcos Road to 154. I should have got gas as it was already drying out even in the cloud. I gassed up in Goleta and then headed back up OSM to 154 and Upper Oso again. This time I turned onto the Camuesa Rd and took that all the way to Lower Camuesa Camp. Then back up and out to Camuesa Pk. Those 'roads' were some of my favorite on the whole trip with some challenging sections on the big bike.


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Day 3 I wanted to go bigger and headed up to Santa Maria and the Sierra Madre Road. 60 miles in the rear fender and rack came loose and got all beat to crap. I had to pull the seat, fairing, all the racks and disassemble the top rack then scab some fasteners off the seat mount to get everything rideable. Then and drove to a hardware store in Orcutt to buy new hardware and bolt it all together for real. I salvaged the day by riding out to Jalama beach and home.

 

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Day 4 I was busy in in the AM, apparently it's annoying to your family if you just come to town and f-off and ride your moto all day and ignore them, who knew? For real I got some quality time in with my fam and then got a ride at Divide Peak OHV. The rack held up good and the riding was fun. I had to turn around when I started bottoming out the T7 in some bigger rocks. This bike does great until it doesn't and then there's an abrupt end to what it can do. I ride a 300 2T mostly and obviously it's not that. On the way back I stopped for a photo on East Camino Cielo and noticed the bags were barely hanging on. The racks were fine but the straps attaching the bags had come loose. Another lesson for me.

 

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Day 5 I had the whole day but no plan. I thought West Camino Cielo was closed due to the Alisal Fire but you don't know until you go. I decided to have a look and I'm so stoked I did, it was wide open and really fun on the T7. I stopped to deal with another bag problem (exhaust melted a hole in a bag when it came loose) and met up with a group of guys on dual sports. They insisted I hook up with them for a ride through the wine country. It was a really fun run up Foxen Canyon and back down Cat Canyon. Then one of the guys bought lunch for the whole crew. They gave me a bunch of ideas for riding out in the Carrizo Plain too. I rode with them back up and over West Camino and back to town for a killer day!

 

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Days 6-10 my wife flew down and we went for some hikes had some great food and wine and went fishing for a day out in the Channel Islands. Great times!

 

Day 11 I really wanted to pull my sh@t together luggage/rack wise and get ready to head out to Carrizo. I had ordered new straps and got some more new rack hardware and took a ride back up out of Oso to the End of the Buckhorn Rd and then out to Camuesa Peak again. Everything worked great, no rack or bag issues.

 

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Day 12 I hit the road out towards the Carrizo Plain. I rode West Camino Cielo to the Refugio Rd then down to Santa Ynez for gas. From there I rode Happy Canyon to Figueroa Mtn and down the Figueroa Mtn Rd to 154 and Foxen Canyon. From there I took Tepesquet Cyn to the 166 and turned right on the Sierra Madre Rd. I took a left on Bates Cyn and got back on the 166 to New Cuyama. That was rad.

 

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From New Cuyama I finally got to Carrizo and it was awesome and weird from the start. There was an inversion and as I dropped onto the plain the temp dropped and I went into a thick fog. The riding down there was really fun and I turned onto a few side roads off of the Soda Lk Rd and Buckhorn Rd. Everything was going great until I decided to do a loop on the south side of the Soda Lk Rd. I ended up dropping down a really steep hill without scoping it first. Big mistake.

 

The next thing I hit was a washout and I knew I was screwed. I hiked around the washout for about 1/4 mile and it looked like the trail just dove into a steep canyon. I got back to my bike and tried to climb back out but spun out in steep sand near the top of the climb. I got the bike back up and turned around for another try but still a no go.

 

I spent the next two hours struggling on that hill while the sun went down and I got more and more tired from picking my bike up. The gravity of the situation was huge and I tried not to think about how stupid it was to drop down that hill. I should have stopped at the top and just gone back the way I came. But there was no use wasting energy on what I should have done.

 

I went back to the washout and started hiking down the canyon. I walked two miles down and there was definitely a dirt bike trail over the old road with just a few obstacles. It tied back into another road that would get me out. I got back up to my bike and committed to the trail and pulled it off. If I had not found that trail I'd have been in a real bad situation. I'll be thinking about that for a long time. I had a motel reserved in Taft and pulled in just after 8pm.

 

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Day 13 I woke up feeling like someone went to work on me with a baseball bat. I checked my bike in the daylight and other than the handguards, crashbars and cheapo exhaust taking some hits everything seemed good to go. It was cold and overcast but I was determined to finish my ride through Carrizo and hit the road after some donuts and coffee in the Taft Albertson's parking lot.

 

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I climbed up the Buckhorn grade and got back onto the plain. Then I climbed up into the Temblor Range but it was socked in and some of the sandy climbs gave me ptsd from the night before so I dropped back down to the Buckhorn Rd.

 

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I'm glad I did because even though it's not challenging to ride, the Buckhorn is very cool and I was surprised by the expanse of the Carrizo Plain. It's hard to judge the scale of the peaks, etc there and I have nothing but respect for that place. I finally got a glimpse of the Soda Lake and got into the sun up by the California Valley Solar Farm.

 

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From there I caught the 58 and took that to the Pozo Rd. That was 100% fun to the Pozo Saloon. I didn't stop for lunch as I was trying to make it back to SB for happy hour but I did have time for the Hi Mountain Road and it's deep water crossing. That was a real treat.

 

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From Arroyo Grande I jumped on the freeway to San Marcos Pass. Dropping back into SB that way gave me time to reflect on the rides I had done in the last two weeks and while it was mostly just good times I definitely made mistakes that I learned a lot from. All in all it opened my mind to riding in the Central Coast of CA and I'll definitely be doing some some more riding there in the future and I'll definitely be going back to Carrizo but it will be with a much more conservative mindset.

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That's a pretty good adventure all in all.  And other than the jump into the rabbit hole, which didn't sound like a lot of fun, you done good.  Thanks for the pictures and sharing your memories.  I appreciate it.  Maybe take a riding buddy next time so you can really get into the thick of things. 🙃

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